Hypothyroid mother & child with autistism/aspergers

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Researchers have recently identified a link between low thyroid hormone levels in pregnancy and the child's inability to do mental maths & reduced height. (See daily mail article by searching 'daily mail pregnancy mental maths').

I think it goes further than this, I think there's a link with low thyroid hormone levels in pregnancy and the child being on the autistic spectrum. My doses were all over the place when I was pregnant, and my levels were too - no account was taken of the time lag between dose increases and it correctly being reflected in blood levels.

I have a child on the autistic spectrum (aspergers) and I'm wondering how many other people have and what you think.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    HI Barbara,

    This is a very insightful post. I am glad that some researcher somewhere is looking for the cause of autism and low/high thyroid is certainly a glaringly obvious possibility. 

    It is known that the mother's thyroid meds have to be raised during pregnancy but I am not sure how many gynos know this (judging from posts on these web sites).

    Hopefully more pregnant women will enlighten thier doctors about this - but they can't wait 3 months just to look at TSH, it's got to be more informed than that.

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    • Posted

      Thank you, I appreciate your comments.

      To add to what you said about needing to raise thyroid meds in pregnancy...by the time I got round to having a second child 5 years later, my GP and I had realised that my pulse was a much better way of monitoring my thyroid levels and he dosed me based on that. Well actually I dosed me based on my pulse, then made an appointment to see him and tell him what the new dose was for my records! So fingers crossed, so far, my second child (aged 15) doesn't seem to be showing signs of being on the autistic spectrum.

      My first child wasn't picked up as having aspergers until she was at university - girls are often missed in childhood due to their often advanced communication skills and their ability to rapidly copy what others are doing socially.

      I suppose the really important points here are: firstly monitor thyroid levels in pregnancy by more than blood tests (e.g. by basal pulse rate and basal temperature). Secondly, if you have hypothyroidism and have children, read up on aspergers syndrome and autistic spectrum disorders so that you can spot if your child is affected - and strategies can be put into place to support them and enable them to thrive.

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  • Posted

    Hello Barbara:

    I guess that is why I am short only 5'1 when my father was 5'11.  Of course, back in the day 1960's my Mother smoked like a chimney and that could also be to blame.

    I think they know more now then they did 20 years ago and they used to say high mercury levels in the blood was a causitive factor in Autism.  Then they tried to link it to the childhood vaccines, which in the USA must be given at about age 2 or so. These vaccines contained  mercury as a preservative.  I knew a lady who ate a lot of fish while pregnant and she had a child born with Autism.  Fish can contain mercury in it, she did not have Hypothyroidism.

    I have heard of being poor at Math linked to Hypo mother's so I would lean on that.

    Is your child muscial?  Because Aspergers can have special talents.

    Regards,

    Shelly

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    • Posted

      What ive learnt recently, is that people with aspergers usually have one or more 'special interests' which is a skill or interest at which they excel or are passionate about. This special interest helps them de-stress when the world becomes too confusing, or just too much to cope with. In my daughter's case one of her special interests is history and she has been able to capitalise on that by studying it at university. As you say, having aspergers doesn't preclude people from leadingva normal life - they just need to find out what strategies to use, and what support they need, to enable them to cope. Much the same as everyone e.g. some people are shy and pick interests and jobs that avoid people.

      Personally I wonder how many of the eccentric great inventors/scientists/mathematicians etc. in history would now be diagnosed with aspergers?

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    • Posted

      By the way no my child can't play a musical instrument, though she sang in the choir all through school.

      She is currently doing the final year of a history degree at a top UK university. Which shows that given the right support and strategies for dealing with the world it is possible to succeed.

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    • Posted

      Hello Barbara:

      Wonderful news and Congratulations on your daughter studying history at a top University.  I know a man who has Aspergers and he is a computer wiz and very good at math. 

      I think many of the great inventors could have had Aspergers, we just never knew about it.

      Shelly

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    • Posted

      My thyroid levels where all over the place as well during pregnacy. I was in so much pain it was unexplainable how much pain I was in. Felt like I was dieing slowly. The thought of  something being wrong with my precouse baby did not help my mental state as well because I had to take my pain medication to survive the pregnace at 44 years old with no thyroid and not  parathyroids that should have stayed in my neck. At 18 months I noticed something that just wasnt quit right with my baby although I was told he was very healthy. He will defantly do somthing big with computers. Anything that is computerized is a calming mechanism for my Ashton. He has come a long way with all the therapy hes involved in and school since age  21/2
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    • Posted

      Hello Denisemoore:

      Pregnancy is hard on the body and many organs and glands can act up during it.  Some women get Gestational Diabetes and some end up with a thyroiditis. It is very hard to keep a good balance during pregnancy. Also preeclampsia is another condition that can cause a very high blood pressure and cause premature labor. 

      OH I can imagine how hard it was for you!  At least you were able to have a child, you are blessed.  The thyroid is so important and not having the gland is almost impossible to keep the level normal.

      I am glad your son has responded to therapy and yes it is amazing how computers help.  My hubby teaches Special Education and many of the Autisic kids are good on the computers at the school.

      Another therapy that has been successful is animals like working with horses and music therapies.

      Regards,

      Shelly

       

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    • Posted

      Denise, thank you for sharing. It's interesting that your thyroid levels were also all over the place during pregnancy. A sample of two of us isn't sufficient to draw conclusions from, but your experience dies support my hyothesis so fatn that low thyroid hormones in pregnancy cause aspergers syndrome in the child.

      I also wanted to give you hope that given the right support things can turn out ok. Did you get my pm?

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  • Posted

    Yes I completely agree. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after my son was born.

    I had a goiter before he was born.

    A good doctor confirmed that my son has thyroid issues too.

    I recently learned that flouride used in toothpaste can affect they thyroid negatively.

    More research needs to be done on this connection. I have heard anecdotally that there is a connection from multiple people.

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    • Posted

      Hi Robin, thank you for your thoughts. I've since read that there is a higher incidence of hypothyroidism amongst people with autism. I probably read this on tpauk.

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